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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • Aug 6, 2020

A difference in pace between Europe and the US regarding Hydrogen discussed in this article

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 6, 2020

"There’s one sector, however, where hydrogen power could be critically important: manufacturing, the part of the economy that makes steel, cement, and basically every other material good. Industrial processes, most of which involve burning fossil fuels on-site for energy, account for over 20 percent of fossil fuel pollution worldwide."

Charley, though many venture capitalists on both sides of the Atlantic see opportunities for selling hydrogen to make "hydrogen power", is there a single climatologist, physicist, chemist or anyone familiar with thermodynamics who will step up to the plate and endorse it as a solution for climate change? Maybe an example will help answer that question.

Everyone knows it requires energy to pull a magnet away from a refrigerator door, and when they hold it close to the door again, magnetism pulls it back. The energy exerted in pulling it away is exactly the same as that required to pull it back again. Energy in = energy out: the First Law of Thermodynamics.

Similarly, like a powerful magnet, hydrogen attaches itself securely to other elements, like oxygen (water). And like a magnet from a refrigerator door, it requires energy to pull hydrogen from oxygen. When we combine it with oxygen again, we get that energy back. Energy in = energy out.

So our first task is to figure out how to get the energy to pull hydrogen away from oxygen without emitting greenhouse gases. We can do it with electricity, but if we burn coal or natural gas to make the electricity - more greenhouse gases. We can use renewable electricity when it's available, but there's nowhere near enough of it, especially to make steel or cement. And in truth, we'd be better off using renewable energy straight from the source, from wind turbines or solar panels, than making hydrogen and wasting a lot in the process. If we must store it, batteries waste far less than pulling hydrogen off of oxygen and putting it back together again.

So frankly, hydrogen is a magic trick, a hoax, invented by the people who sell fossil fuel used to make electricity. If it wastes a lot of their fossil fuel to include the extra step of making hydrogen, they make even more money, don't they?

In answer tp my earlier (rhetorical) question: no, there isn't a single climatologist, physicist, chemist or anyone familiar with thermodynamics who recognizes value in "hydrogen power". Scientists, as a rule, don't believe in magic.

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Thank Charley for the Post!
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